3D Printing has been the biggest buzz word in product development in the last few years. While you can find lots of little machines that squirt out plastic toys, can you really see it making what we might actually wear every day?
Shapeways is one of the leading 3D printing services that independent fashion designers are using to produce jewelry, shoes and other accessories using metal in addition to the typical plastic-like filaments. They can also produce a ceramic finish or laser cut leathers and wood. You might have seen Shapeway’s collaboration with Victoria’s Secret to create the dramatic angel wings at their fashion show.
Knitting machines from companies like Stoll were already producing full finished garments with their programming, before 3D printing was a catchphrase. If you really watch the process though, it is very similar in how it uses a yarn and shoots it out to in layers to knit a finished sweater. There are also companies developing a silicone coated yarns as a material for true 3 printers.
How about a silk wedding dress? Though it hasn’t happened yet, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has managed to produce huge dome of silk by working with CAD software and a network of silkworms. Reprogramming them to weave actual clothing seems very close to being a reality (though they might have done it by now).
It’s not just fashion that has seen new developments from 3D printing. A woman at Harvard is crowd-funding a project that lets you 3D print your own cosmetics at home. I can’t even tell you how fast I want this project funded!
Savvy designers are mixing 3D technologies to create fashion. Sid Neigum used a mix of laser cutting and origami for his Toronto Fashion Week show. Iris Van Herpen used a combination of magnetic field, injection molding and laser cutting for her spring 2015 collection to amazing effect.
If you can dream it, fashion innovators can build it (or design it, print it, etc.) Style makers have always been at the forefront of technology and 3D printed fashion is just another tool fashion designers are using to make you look good.Images from: Steven Keating.Shapeways blog, Grace Mink, Mariana Leung, Iris Van Herpen images from Dezeen.com